Monday, January 17

contrasts

How do couples reconcile their very different needs and desires? It's all very well ticking your boxes when in search of a mate, but thing is, people change. A decade can shift a person from 'I don't want kids', to, 'Let's try for a 3rd'.

Husband and I, whatever our differences, do share the same or similar desires for our basic lifestyle - we both want to travel, we're open to living almost anywhere in the world, he supports me in my parenting choices (homeschooling, and such). Problems lie in other areas... but at least neither feels stuck in an inauthentic life course.

[no, not with my new camera yet]
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I'm currently witness to two marriages where this isn't the case. One man wants to live in a different country, wants to sell his current home, wants to travel, and to socialise with his wife. She is a homebody, says she'll leave her house only in a coffin (only the kind of thing those over 60 tend to spout), and generally wants nothing but to wait for death.

He's miserable.

There was a time I was pained at my Husband's lack of spiritual inclinations. Truly pained. I let that go. I came to shift my view of what was truly necessary. For me, this was; showing me respect, affection, support, and now, being an attentive father.

I have no idea when or how this shift occurred. I do recall coming to one understanding, that spirituality is deeply personal. That while sharing our spiritual lives would be magical, it was not what mattered, ultimately. Meaning, it's between him and his belief, or lack of.

But how does a couple settle on where to live, or how to parent if both feel strongly about one way or another, or if one feels the family ought to be greener/more charitable/more or less sociable/vegetarian.......?

What happens when the contrasts no longer work alongside each other? Is there always a way to make self-contained circles ripple in the same waters?

Life Up Close:
Mama-Om

12 comments:

  1. Wow, that is a good question. I don't know the answer to that one. What I do know is that the people who push our buttons the most, are our greatest teachers. As you experienced with your husband and as I do with mine.

    always feel like I am the one leading our family on this spiritual path. And I sometimes have this fear that I am going to have to leave him behind to pursue my spiritual path, but he always catches up to me. And I always have to remind myself that he is his own person, with his own journey and I need to accept him (and the children for that matter) as his own person with his own choices.

    I guess that sometimes it is time to move on from a person if the contrast is too big. To respect and love the other person enough to let them be their own person with their individual choices.

    Good luck to your friend. I hope that he can find peace in whatever form it will take.

    xxx.

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  2. ~good morning my dear friend and welcome home...so happy to read your words and i thank you greatly for what you left for me the other day...

    you said

    "shift my view of what was truly necessary"

    change is inevitable...it is always happening even if we are unaware of it happening....for many years i struggled with the mere thought of change...i wanted to hold onto life as it was and then there is my husband he who welcomes change with opens arms...he enjoys the process of evolving and discovering anew...it took me along time to fully grasp this concept and now i try very hard to be open minded towards change...

    when we love one another...unconditionally and are not seeking a way out because we can't find a way to communicate and or be in a blissful state what you said above is ever so true...if one is willing to compromise just a bit...ease up and really find the truth in their desires and wishes then it can work...though we are partners we are also individuals...and can and should be honored for our differences...it is when two are not willing to see past such difference and work towards finding a common ground...troubles arise...my love and i do at times have very strongly different ideas and or opinions as to how we wish to live but we always try to see what the other is thinking and find a way to compromise...because we WANT to make our life together work...sometimes i think it is just easier for some to throw their hands up and give up...thinking there may be something better waiting for them when really it is right in front of their eyes...they just have them closed just enough not to see such...i don't know...each person deals with life and their relationships far different from another and it is for that person to look deep inside and discover where their heart truly lies...is it a false dream or a beautiful reality that could come to be...only each knows what emotions they are harboring...i guess i am a firm believer of compromise and learning what we can and can not sacrifice as an individual...i share the similar path of spirituality as you...i am me and my husband and his beliefs are his...we know and are aware and never judge the other...we accept and try to learn from eachother...i do believe there are ways of making life blend beautifully together...anyways sorry for the ramble...hehehe...much love light and blessings be with you and yours always~

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  3. ooooh...FAB -- you got the boycott notice as well!! LOL the mind boggles!

    i've seen this happen before -- i had a dear friend who had been married for 40+ years and he and his wife divorced over similar circumstances as you describe. They were completely at odds and there was no budging either of them.

    it is a matter of compromise at times...of weighing little picture vs. big picture. i don't believe that one person should be miserable in deference to their partner though....so compromise needs to be something done willingly and thoughtfully and with an open heart. not always easy to do....especially with hot-button issues.

    faerwillow said it well...that people have to WANT to be together and that we recognize there will be an inevitable ebb and flow. this was key for my marriage, this last while....that and each of us feeling that we'd been *heard*.

    xo

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  4. Hi Ola,
    I certainly agree that, "the people who push our buttons the most, are our greatest teachers".
    Yet, even classes come to an end. When is it soul learning and when is it a pain in the butt? lol
    I guess it's about listening to our inner voice.

    faerwillow, great thoughts, very compassionate. are you libran? :)
    I've always been big on compromise, I find it difficult to imagine how any relationship can function without it.
    It's about compromising needs, desires, wants, ideas... and "so compromise needs to be something done willingly and thoughtfully and with an open heart." as you say Mel .... but never your soul.

    It's when I see souls crushed that it makes me sad. One person giving up dreams or simply a basic desire, for the inflexibility of the other.

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  5. great question. I think it is a matter of listening to the other, being tolerant and then doing what you can to assist the other in their dreams/desires, seeking a suitable compromise. Our example: I'm a veggie, practically vegan: M loves meat and doesn't think it's a meal without something dead in it! So, I cook my veggie meals, then separately I'll cook some fish or meat and add it to his meal. We both have a similar nourishing meal, but his has all that he wants - he's not deprived, and I don't have to compromise what I want to do. With the going out issue - I would say, she should put herself outside of her comfort zone sometimes and go out with him, but that he ought to think of things to do to make it enjoyable for her (so if she doesn't like loud parties, go out for a meal together - if she likes say, dance, find a performance to go to together). Both shift a little.

    When it comes to moving countries, though, that's harder. Sometimes the only solution is to let go and go separate ways rather than both lead unhappy unfulfilled lives. In fact, this decision did face a dear friend of mine - he wanted overseas, she's a real hometown gal. In the end, they went for 6 months, she agreed to extend it for 9 months, but now they are coming back - he got the chance to truly experience overseas living, she gave it her best shot, but ultimately couldn't live without her family and friends. But they each gave it a fair go, and compromised along the way. Which is the only way to make any relationship work long term

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  6. So much wisdom in these comments!! I agree with everthing that has been said. For me, marriage and family is all about trying to meet each others needs as best we can. I believe that when we know we are all doing the best we can for each other, it is easier to compromise and be the one to give in at times. It's balance I guess, we all take turns compromising. If someone is feeling that they are giving more than what is comfortable or acceptable, we talk about it and see what need they are missing out on.

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  7. Great post, great questions. I don't have an answer to that one, that's for sure. I think I agree with your take on compromise (from the comments) - that of course compromise is necessary, but not if it's soul-crushing. And where that line is is tough to say.

    A part of me is completely unromantic about marriage. I don't really believe in soulmates in the traditional sense, as a lifelong 'other half' type thing, so I really think of lifelong mating as a kind of strange, socially-constructed thing. In that sense, it's a contract of sorts, a deal two people make, and whether it will work long term is really about whether or not each person is getting enough out of it to stay.

    This is all apart from love of course. Because I know couples that don't seem to have a lot of romantic love but have built a solid, even happy, marriage together. And of course there are lots of couples with great passion-type love that simply cannot live together day to day. The whole fairy-tale, happily ever after vision of love and marriage that we are sold as kids does a great disservice to us when it comes to sorting through all this as adults.

    I have seen people that seemed to throw away, or rather destroy, good marriages out of some romantic notion. I have a relative that did just this - was convinced he had met his 'true soulmate' and left his wife of 16 years, who even had admits was his 'best friend'. Now the relationship he left for is over, and he is a kind of lost soul. Bottom line is, to some extent wherever you go there you are - certain issues follow us wherever we go.

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  8. I think making new attempts at reconnecting are necessary to keep a marriage alive and dynamic. Lately, I've been losing that feeling of connection in my own marriage. I worry that we are losing sight of each other and need to reassess how we prioritize this relationship. I realize now that work needs to be a big part of marriage. I can't assume that it will keep growing on its own. Nurturing and pruning is necessary. Thanks for getting me to step out of my own self and think about this part of my life. Hugs to you Monica.

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  9. Wow! this is really a meaningful post with some deep questions. I surely can't answer!
    My hubby is pretty simple, (I don't mean dumb, I just mean uncomplicated) so he's usually happy as long as he's fed good food and he can watch sports on tv he'll pretty much let me do what i want with the house , etc. LOL
    now if i cancelled the sports package from the cable, now that wouldn't just be some ripples in the water that would be a TIDAL WAVE hahaha. But i really do love your posts. You always have something deep to make us all think!

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  10. If the rift is too big, it usually cannot be bridged. At least, that has been my experience. If two people have fundamentally different core values, the compromise becomes too big and they end up resenting it...

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  11. Bohomumma, yes, if each person approached the relationship like that, any problem would be minimal.
    Like MJ says as well, "we are all doing the best we can for each other"

    It's when one, or both even, refuse to budge. And worse, I think, when one accepts it, their loss of needs.

    I always cooked meat for hubby when I was veggie. Never once asking him to convert.

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  12. Interesting question. i think relationships are defined by what we choose to offer up to them and what we accept from them. It's a dance, a delicate balance of your needs and theirs and a willingness to accept them as they are, perfectly imperfect.

    Oh and I've joined in with the Life Up Close thing and added your wee button. Looking forward to some play time.

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